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The effects of marital status on episodic and semantic memory in healthy middle-aged and old individuals
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9862-3032
Centre for Population Studies/Ageing and Living Conditions, Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; Stockholm Brain Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
2012 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 53, no 1, p. 1-8Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study examined the influences of marital status on different episodic and semantic memory tasks. A total of 1882 adult men and women participated in a longitudinal project (Betula) on memory, health and aging. The participants were grouped into two age cohorts, 35–60 and 65–85, and studied over a period of 5 years. Episodic memory tasks concerned recognition and recall, whereas semantic memory tasks concerned knowledge and fluency. The results showed, after controlling for education, some diseases, chronological age and leisure activity as covariates, that there were significant differences between married and single individuals in episodic memory, but not in semantic memory. Married people showed significantly better memory performances than singles in both subsystems of episodic memory, that is, recall and recognition. Also, the rate of decline in episodic memory was significantly larger for singles and widowed than other groups over the 5-year time period in both age groups. The findings demonstrate that the positive relation found between marriage and health can be extended to the relation between marriage and cognitive performance. This effect might be explained by the role played by cognitive stimulation in memory and cognition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Vol. 53, no 1, p. 1-8
Keywords [en]
Marital status, age, episodic memory, semantic memory
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-21629DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2011.00926.xISI: 000298949400001PubMedID: 22092006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84855808080OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-21629DiVA, id: diva2:501326
Available from: 2012-02-14 Created: 2012-02-14 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Engaged lifestyle and episodic and semantic memory: longitudinal studies from the betula project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Engaged lifestyle and episodic and semantic memory: longitudinal studies from the betula project
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation examines whether some aspects of engaged lifestyle, marital status and leisure activity, influence memory performance in adulthood and old age. Direct effects and indirect effects, via health, are investigated. All the studies in the dissertation examine participants in the Betula project, aged 35 to 85 years. Study I investigates whether there are reliable effects of marital status on memory function in a large sample of participants in adulthood and old age. The results demonstrate that marriage has an influence on some specific types of memory functions. They show that there are significant differences between married and single individuals in episodic memory, but not in semantic memory. Also, the extent of decline in episodic memory was found to be significantly larger for singles and widowed individuals than for married people over five years. Study II examines the relationships between different types of social and cognitive activities and episodic and semantic memory. The results show that a unidirectional effect of social activity on episodic memory was detectable on all test occasions. Also, episodic memory predicted change in cognitive activity during all test waves. However, there were no significant effects with regard to semantic memory and leisure activity in either direction. Study III explores longitudinally whetherengaged lifestyle, including marriage and leisure activity, directly affects memory performance, or whether the effect is mediated by health. The overall results demonstrate that marriage predicts episodic memory function directly. Leisure activity can also predict episodic memory performance ten years later, but indirectly via health. An active and engaged lifestyle can protect people against memory decline. The positive impact of engaged lifestyle on memory performance is discussed in terms of cognitive reserve theory, and in relation to the decrease in distress afforded by social support from other people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2012. p. 76
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 26
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26141 (URN)978-91-7668-894-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-11-30, Hörsal L3, Långhuset, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-10-09 Created: 2012-10-09 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Mousavi-Nasab, S. -M. -HosseinKormi-Nouri, Reza

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